"The story of Graham Jackson is a timeless tale of American ingenuity, hard
work and the cream rising to the top.
It’s also a tale of economic inequality, overt racism and America’s Jim Crow
As one of the first Black musicians to play on national radio, Jackson is best
known for the April 13, 1945, photograph of him that was published by Life
magazine, one of the leading publications of its day.
In that image, Jackson, dressed in his U.S. Navy uniform, is seen playing the
song “Going Home” on an accordion as the train carrying the body of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt leaves the station in Warm Springs, Georgia, for his
burial in Hyde Park, New York.
Jackson’s tear-filled face mourning the death of the nation’s longest-serving
president became a symbol of the nation’s grief.
But under legislation that’s been proposed in North Dakota, I am not sure if I
can tell the full story of Jackson in one of my college courses without
breaking the law.
Officially titled Senate Bill 2247, the measure would criminalize discussing
factual history by prohibiting discussions at state universities that involve
The bill defines “divisive concepts” as including white privilege, white guilt,
Black resentment or America’s being “fundamentally or irredeemably racist or
If passed, the measure would ban any classroom discussions that “an individual,
by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist,
sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.”
It would also ban courses that would make an individual “feel discomfort,
guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the
individual’s race or sex.”
As I detail in my biography of Jackson, the story of Graham Jackson involves
all of these things."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics